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Saturday, January 18, 2020

Daily Devotion for September 25, 2010


An illustration of Revelation 10, from the <i>Ottheirnrich Bible</i>, ca. 1425, the oldest illustrated German Bible.
An illustration of Revelation 10, from the Ottheirnrich Bible, ca. 1425, the oldest illustrated German Bible.

Prayers

Scripture

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Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.

Amen.




Prayer for the Morning

Heavenly Father, I give you a million thanks that I have woken up alive this morning, once again to witness the magnificence, the glory of your creation. Even on the dreariest of days, when the weather doesn't suit me, let me rejoice in the taste of heaven you give us on earth. For the hottest, muggiest day; the coldest and most bitter weather; the clouds, the rain, the wind and snow, the lightning and thunder — these are all your creations, oh Lord, and all of them have a great beauty if I just take the time to see it.

Should I be blind, what would I give to see the cloudy rainy day that I complain about? Should I be deaf, how much I would long to hear your thunder! When I lie dying, how sweet it will seem to have been bundled up against a chill wind, or to be soaked in sweat as I work in the heat and humidity.

Let me be always filled with gratitude for the world you have given me, great God, Father and creator of all that is.

Amen.

Prayer for Mercy

Heavenly Father, true God, who sent Your beloved Son to seek the wandering sheep, I have sinned against heaven and before You; receive me like the Prodigal Son, and clothe me with the garment of innocence, of which I was deprived by sin. Have mercy upon Your Creatures and upon me, a great sinner, in the name of Christ.

Amen.

Benediction

Oh God who has made me, oh God who keeps me, oh God who will be my Lord through all eternity, shine down Your blessings and wisdom upon me like the sun upon a field; and may I keep You in the forefront of my every thought and deed, throughout this day, and evermore.

Amen.


Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.


Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question

In what verse does Jesus tell us that He has come to fulfill the Law and the Prophets?

Answer: Matthew 5:17



Tree of Life, illuminated Bible
The Tree of Life

Psalm 37:23-24 (KJV)

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord:
and he delighteth in his way.
Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down:
for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.


Blue Latin Cross

Romans 2:6-11 (ESV)

God Shows no Partiality

He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.

There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.

For God shows no partiality.


Notes on the Scripture

W

hen reading this one must keep in mind, first and foremost, that salvation comes by faith, not by works. This is a fundamental doctrine of Christianity. Otherwise, no person could hope for heaven. We would all be condemned, for none of us can stand before God on our own merits. We sin. But we can find forgiveness for our sin, through our faith in Christ.

Forgiveness, however, is not a loophole. We cannot spend our lives pandering to evil, keeping Christ’s forgiveness in our back pocket like a “Get Out of Jail Free” card tucked under our side of the Monopoly® board. Trying to manipulate God’s forgiveness is not “faith”; it the gamesmanship of the Sunday Christian, a glib and poorly conceived strategy of hedging one’s bets, rooted in agnosticism.

Christian family

Looking on the bright side, though, Paul does not say that only people with perfect conduct will find eternal life; he says that those who seek God’s glory will find eternal life. The opposite of seeking God is translated “self-seeking,” but this term is somewhat misleading. Self-seeking, in its common sense, certainly refers to sinful behavior, such as greed and avarice. But here it is used in the more fundamental sense of seeking for truth within oneself, rather than from God’s word.

A person with real faith in God will, in consequence of his faith, behave better than he or she would without such faith. In fact, the impact of faith on a person’s actions is usually profound. But the man or woman of faith will still sin. It is our living faith, our seeking to find God’s glory, which will trump this behavior and ultimately earn us total forgiveness.

That said, Paul’s purpose in writing this passage was not to foment a discussion of faith vs. works. As one reads through Romans 2, it becomes increasingly clear that Paul is addressing Jewish Christians, to help them reconcile with Gentile Christians. The key phrase is “God shows no partiality.” The Jews were steeped in a religion of race, law, and salvation by works. Paul’s purpose in writing this passage was to convince them that Gentile and Jew would be judged exactly alike.

Ask and it shall be given unto you

As a side note, having given the psalm today in the KJV, I noted that the KJV of Romans 2:11 reads, “For there is no respect of persons with God.” Even the NKJV changes this to “God shows no partiality.” The wording in the KJV unfortunately sounds, to the modern ear, as if Paul is saying that God has no respect for human beings, which is not the intention of the sentence. The clear meaning is that God does not care who you are: Jew or Gentile, male or female, slave or king, etc. Still, as is so often the case, the elegant KJV says it better!

In fact, let’s read the KJV:

Who will render to every man according to his deeds:

To them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;

But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:

For there is no respect of persons with God.



endless knot

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